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This Father’s Day, Give the Gift of Abortion

“Dads, if you’ve ever had sex and not had a kid, it’s likely birth control or abortion played a role,” comedian W. Kamau Bell tells fathers in a new PSA.

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Image for article titled This Father’s Day, Give the Gift of Abortion
Screenshot: Offsides Productions

Comedian W. Kamau Bell—host of the CNN series United Shades of America and Showtime’s We Need to Talk About Cosby—says he’s spent $213 on birth control in his lifetime. His wife, Melissa, has spent $17,530.

This Father’s Day, Bell wants you to give the gift of reproductive equality and abortion rights.

In a new PSA for dads produced by Abortion Access Front’s Lizz Winstead, an alum of The Daily Show, with Offsides Productions, Bell addresses dads and cis men across the US directly about the urgent need for them to get off the sidelines in the fight for abortion rights and recognize that far too much of the burden and responsibility for pregnancy prevention has fallen on women and pregnant-capable people. Called “Dads for Choice,” the PSA, which you can watch here, comes amid an impending Supreme Court decision that’s expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, and open the door for states to ban and criminalize abortion.

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“Dad does so much for the family,” the PSA, narrated by Bell, begins. “This Father’s Day, give him what he really needs. Not a home brewing kit. Not socks. Give him safe and legal access to abortion.”

Bell continues, “Throughout history, dads have enjoyed our position on the sidelines cheering on the action, but we can’t afford to do that at this critical time. Abortion and bodily autonomy are human rights. And I’m here to welcome dads—and everybody else on the sidelines—into the fight.”

DADS FOR CHOICE with W. Kamau Bell

Without enduring the same scale of stigma, Bell emphasizes that cis men and fathers have benefited tremendously from abortion rights, too. It’s time for them to act like it. Nearly 60% of people who have abortions already have kids, and many have partners and spouses with whom they’re currently parenting—abortion is vital to helping mothers, fathers, and parents of all genders create the families they choose for themselves.

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And of course, before they were the fathers they are today, Bell reminds fathers they may owe their current lifestyle to contraception or even abortion: “Dads, if you’ve ever had sex and not had a kid, it’s likely birth control or abortion played a role.”

To Bell’s point, far too many cis men—some who may be fathers today, some who may be childless and entirely apathetic to abortion rights—are walking around, having directly benefited from a former sexual partner having had an abortion, blissfully ignorant and indifferent to the imminent fall of Roe. It’s just not sustainable. Abortion bans will always comprise a gendered issue because of their disproportionate, direct impact on the pregnant person who will be forced to endure the physical and mental trauma of unintended pregnancy. But it’s precisely for this reason that the burden of fighting back against a government that seeks to subjugate us shouldn’t fall exclusively on our shoulders.

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There’s some evidence cis men are finally registering what the end of abortion rights could mean for them: In the immediate aftermath of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion last month, Google searches for “how much is a vasectomy” and “are vasectomies reversible” shot up 250%, Jezebel reported. Still, subjecting cis men to the same reproductive pressures and coercion pregnant people have always faced ultimately isn’t going to liberate us. And for all of men’s frantic Googling, vasectomies are still apparently unpopular, compared with the more convenient option of placing all cost and responsibility on the person with the uterus. Among married men, 13.1% reported having vasectomies compared to 21.1% of married women having tubal sterilizations. Of the two safe and reversible methods, vasectomies are simpler and have a lower complication rate.

Adam Mansbach, a comedian and the writer of the “Dads for Choice” PSA, told the Daily Beast that “just like white people need to fight racism and straight people need to fight homophobia, men need to be on the frontlines of the battle for bodily autonomy.” And according to Mansbach, “one of the most powerful tools we have” to fight the anti-abortion movement on a cultural level is “humor.”

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Winstead, who produced the PSA, told the outlet that “everyone’s life is better, especially cis men’s” because “women and queer people” won the rights for birth control and abortion access decades ago. “But we can’t win the long game unless everyone decides that the right to bodily autonomy is also their fight.”

She continued, “For everyone of childbearing age, our very humanity is at stake, and if every single person isn’t standing up to defend us, the message sent is, ‘You aren’t worth fighting for.’ I love that these men get that and made this amazing video to remind other dudes of it.”

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This Father’s Day, give the gift of haranguing male figures in your life about stepping up for abortion rights—either by donating to an abortion fund simply lending their voices and personal impact stories to the fight.